Discoveries

OHSU Casey Eye Institute researchers shed light on retinal neural circuitry

Researchers from the Casey Eye Institute, graduate student Benjamin Murphy-Baum and co-investigator W. Rowland Taylor, Ph.D., have deciphered how neurons in the eye detect the orientation of objects in the visual field. The paper detailing their findings, “The synaptic and morphological basis of orientation selectivity in a polyaxonal amacrine cell of the rabbit retina,” was published in the Sept. 30, 2015, edition of The Journal of Neuroscience. Vision is a complex sensory system triggered by light energy … Read More

OHSU researchers identify enhanced functional connectivity in the brain after methamphetamine exposure

Damien Zuloaga, Ph.D., a former post-doctoral fellow in the Raber lab, and colleagues at OHSU published results of a study examining the effects of methamphetamine (MA) on the sleep-wake cycle. The article, “Enhanced functional connectivity involving the ventromedial hypothalamus following methamphetamine exposure,” appearing in the 23 September, 2015, edition of Frontiers in Neuroscience, identified MA-induced alterations in coordinated activity in the brain, particularly connectivity involving the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH). The VMH is the portion of … Read More

Knight Cancer Institute researchers track metastasis with cell-free DNA

Researchers at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute recently found that sequencing the fragments of tumor DNA that circulate in blood may give a more accurate picture of a patient’s metastatic cancer than can be obtained from biopsies. Paul Spellman, Ph.D., professor of molecular and medical genetics at OHSU, led the study, which showed that whole-exome sequencing of cell-free DNA can find the same clinically relevant mutations identified in DNA from tumor tissue, and it can … Read More

OCT angiography summit draws international attention to pioneering technology

Scientists, clinicians, and engineers from around the world gathered at OHSU’s Casey Eye Institute in July for the first international Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Angiography Summit. Participants spent the day sharing their knowledge and discussing applications of a pioneering imaging technology that has the potential to transform how we diagnose and treat patients with common causes of blindness, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. James Fujimoto, Ph.D., was the summit’s distinguished guest speaker, … Read More

von Gersdorff team sheds light on how diabetes triggers blindness

A new study published in Neuron,  led by Henrique von Gersdorff, Ph.D., is the first characterization of a group of specialized synapses in the retina, the part of the eye that captures and transmits visual signals. These specialized synapses are inhibitory synapses that reduce the activity (or normal ‘chatter’) between neurons connected by multiple excitatory synapses. von Gersdorff and his team–Veeramuthu Balakrishnan, Theresa Puthussery, Mean-Hwan Kim, and W. Rowland Taylor–from the Vollum and Casey Eye … Read More

TTBD innovator spotlight: Carmem Pfeifer, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Carmem Pfeifer, D.D.S., Ph.D., assistant professor of biomaterials and biomechanics for the OHSU School of Dentistry, became an inventor without intending to. “When you get removed from your everyday problems, sometimes you can have an idea completely out of the blue,” she said. In 2009, with a suggestion from her postdoc supervisor, Pfeifer attended a UVA/UVB conference to showcase what they were doing in his lab to industries other than dental. During a session on … Read More

OHSU researchers identify structural changes in the cannabinoid receptor, yielding new insights into alternate GPCR signaling states

If you’re a vertebrate animal, you should be interested in new findings from the Farrens lab. All vertebrates use G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to detect a variety of different stimuli. Upon binding their target molecules, these membrane proteins undergo structural changes that induce internal signal transduction cascades and alter cellular responses. Because GPCRs are involved in so many signaling systems and diseases, they are a common drug target in pharmacology. Recently, two exciting new areas … Read More

OHSU researchers develop a novel gene and stem cell technique for treating mitochondrial disease

A study led by OHSU researchers Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Ph.D., and Hong Ma, M.D., Ph.D., at the Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy and the Oregon National Primate Research Center, has revealed a critical first step in developing a new gene and stem cell regenerative technique for treating patients with mitochondrial disease. Mitochondrial diseases result from DNA mutations that lead to altered cell function. Cell injury and cell death result which can lead to multiple system failure … Read More

New insights on protein movement from the Chapman lab

A study from the Michael Chapman lab titled “Parsimony in protein conformational change,” published in the journal Structure, provides a more complete picture of how proteins move. The researchers used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to better understand the dynamics of protein movement and thus get a better view of their normal functioning. The team designed a computer method that looks at two different snapshots of the same protein structures. Some of the findings: Minimal torsion … Read More

New Science paper from the Skach Lab sheds light on protein folding

A recent paper published in Science may change how we think about how protein folding in its endogenous context.  For the past 50 years, the principles by which proteins unfold and refold have been studied largely using purified recombinant substrates.  Under these experimental conditions, however, it has been extraordinarily difficult to examine how a protein folds in its native environment.  To address this question, the Skach Lab developed a novel technique that uses fluorescence resonance … Read More

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Welcome to the Research News Blog

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